Church in need of donations for poor

CHICAGO But this holiday the church is in desperate need of donations.

The annual Christmas food and toy giveaway at Christ Universal Church in the Gresham community is a resource for those who can barely make ends meet.

This is the first year Charmaine Washington got in line with others who are turning to the church for help.

"I have a 13-year-old daughter getting ready to graduate and I'm struggling right now. Have to pay fees and for Christmas we don't have anything at this point," said Washington.

But this year, the church is turning back to the community asking for help in providing meals, toys and coats to the roughly 1,000 people who otherwise might not have any food or gifts this Christmas.

"These people need the food, but we don't have enough food to go around," said Bishop Paul Hall, Christ Universal Church.

Hall says the downturn in the economy this year has impacted the church. They only have half of their normal amount of supplies. Although volunteers have packed some bags with food, the supply falls far short of the demand.

"People who were able to give last year are no longer giving this year because they are fending for themselves and trying to keep their heads above water," said Hall.

The Kirsch family of Frankfort has given to the church for more than 10 years in lieu of Christmas gifts to each other. Their donations today helped feed a few more families.

"It makes my heart feel good. It makes me remember what Christmas is all about," said Judy Kirsch.

And the recipients are feeling the Christmas spirit as well.

"It means the world. it means a lot because having to be responsible for six people, and not having anything for them, it was a hard thing to deal with," said Sheila Giles.

Christ Universal Church, 9039 S. Ashland, will accept donations through midnight on Wednesday and until 1 p.m. on Thursday. What is needed the most is meat, such as turkey and ham. Nonperishable items are also appreciated.

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